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baby and heart

February 2009 ~ Issue # 014

I cannot believe it's February already! Wasn't it just Christmas? (And speaking of Christmas, how many of you still have your Christmas decorations up? You know who you are! You sleep-deprived exhausted parents! You know...you could threaten your non-parental friends to leave them up until June unless they help you take them down...)

February is starting out beautifully in Wisconsin. Cold, but not bitter, sunny and gleaming white. Add a cup of hot coffee (with plenty of Non-fat French Vanilla Creamer) and I'm in heaven!

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I thoroughly enjoyed researching writing this edition of The Merry Mother. The more I interact with Merry Mothers the more I'm encouraged to be one myself. I hope this issue is particularly enjoyable to you!
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Treasures in this Issue...

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In Case You Missed It...

Here are some of the newest and most popular articles at The Essential Infant Resource for Moms (EiR) that you may have missed.

  • Avoiding a Baby Cold
      Don't let a baby cold turn your beautiful infant into a nightmare of crusty yellow nasties. The old saying, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" is a wonderful adage when it comes to your baby's health...
  • Conquering the Infant Cold
      It is not uncommon for an infant cold to be the first storm a mother must weather. It's so hard to see your infant all stuffed up and uncomfortable! Here are some basic guideliness on how to relieve cold-induced misery...
  • Organic Baby Stuff for the Green Mama
      The decision to choose organic baby stuff for your infant must go beyond following a simple fad. Here's the Cliff's Notes version of why you should think about buying organic for your baby, and the best places online to do so...
  • Have a Mom Moment
      Inspired by all the beautiful photographs I get to browse through while looking for pictures for EiR, here are some "take-me-away" photographs for your day-dreaming enjoyment...
  • Practical Advice for New Parents on Marriage and Romance
      The most beneficial advice for new parents you can find is that which discusses how to keep your marriage strong during those early years of parenting. Your marriage is the foundation of your family. If it is neglected, everything will crumble away. Here are some easy suggestions to keep your thumb on the heartbeat of your family, i.e. your marriage...

Get the most out of this month's eZine.

Print it and read it at your leisure throughout the day.


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Pages Coming Up at the EiR:

Sign up for the Infant Blog and be notified the moment these pages are online.
  • Breastfeeding Tips for Working Moms
  • Dealing with Baby Diarrhea
  • Dangers of Infant Dehydration
  • Breastmilk Composition: The Elixir of Life
  • Baby Development Stages for Social and Emotional Wellness
  • Judging Your Baby Expenses: Where to Cut Corners
  • Addressing Baby Health Concerns
  • A New Baby Photo Contest!

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Questions You've Asked

Alltop, all the top stories
Do you have a question a Mentor Mom can help answer? Ask it here.


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The Essential Infant Blog is Honored!

The EiR official blog was added as a "best of the best" on the Internet! This invitation-only honor is due to our wonderful subscribers! Thank you! If you haven't subscribed yet to The Essential Infant Blog, click here.


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A Petition You Should Know About

Here at the EiR, we value all babies - even those still in the womb. In fact, I feel it would be hypocritical for me to only care about babies after their first gulp of air. For this reason, myself (and my contributing Mentor Mothers) would like to make you aware of a petition for President Obama to show our support for life - at all stages - and encourage him not to push through the "Freedom of Choice Act" which would remove all restrictions on abortion - including those on late-term babies that could survive outside the womb.

Please join us in supporting babies at all stages of life. Click here to sign the "Fight FOCA" petition. And don't forget to send it to all your friends and family!

On the other side of this difficult coin, if you (or someone you know) have had an abortion in the past and struggle with feelings of guilt, anxiety, depression and "numbness", you may suffer from Post Abortion Syndrome. This website (http://www.ramahinternational.org) may be helpful to you.

A special thank-you to Merry Mother Lisa who made me aware of this petition!

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Baby Signing Time

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  • Save 25% off the entire DVD Gift set (vol. 1-4) and get a free copy of the CD "Good Night Baby" and free shipping. Expires: March 31, 2009
  • Click here to see the award-winning DVDs at Baby Signing Time.


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Conquering the Infant Cold

infant cold
{Photo by Sean Dreilinger}
It is not uncommon for an infant cold to be the first storm a mother must weather. It's so hard to see your infant all stuffed up and uncomfortable! Here are some basic guideliness on how to relieve cold-induced misery.

Of course, before you can treat the cold, you should take a step back and make sure he actually has an infant cold. The common cold and the flu have a lot of the same symptoms. Learn the slight differences between a cold and the flu. The difference could mean a doctor's visit!

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Can Medications Help?

Since an infant cold is caused by a virus, antibiotics are useless. However, medication can be helpful in treating some of the symptoms. Just remember that less is best when it comes to medicating your infant.

Infant cold medicine should never be given without talking with your doctor first. These medications have side effects that can make using them pointless. For example, some cough suppressants can over-stimulate your baby, keeping him awake (fun for you!) and even in some cases dangerously elevating his heart rate.

Doctors recommend acetaminophen (infant Tylenol) or ibuprofen (infant Motrin) to help babies older than 6 months for fever reduction and as a pain reliever. Acetaminophen is taken every 4 hours, and ibuprofen every 6. In severe cases (such as in teething or a high fever) the medication can be alternated for maximum relief. Speak to your doctor about how to do that.

Sneezing and coughing is the body's natural defense against viruses, so it may not always be beneficial to prevent them. If your doctor gives you permission to purchase an over-the-counter (OTC) infant cold medicine, choose only single-purpose medications.

"Cough AND Cold" medicines have multiple medications in them (oftentimes with acetaminophen or ibuprofen as well), making it easier for you to accidentally overdose your baby by giving Motrin or Tylenol as well.

Keep in mind that if bacteria settles in it's only a short hop away from the ears, starting an ear infection. From there it's a small leap to the eye, and you're dealing with pinkeye.

If your baby's mucus is gray or green or if the yellow thick mucus stays around longer than a few days, call your doctor. Bacteria may have decided to join the party - and that is treatable with antibiotics!

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Conquer the Cold at Home

Since antibiotics are off the table, you're going to have to treat this infant cold the 'ole fashioned way. The first thing you should attend to is your baby's hydration. Fluids will help loosen the congestion in your baby's nose (which is the biggest issue when dealing with an infant cold)...

~ Click Here to Continue Reading "Conquering the Infant Cold"~


March's Feature Article Will Be:
Saving Money on Groceries:
An Insider's Guide to Smart Shopping


infant activities

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0-3 Months: Gotcha Glove

Sew a small soft toy on the back of a soft garden glove, so the toy sits on the back of your hand when the glove is worn. Place your infant on his back or in his infant seat. Put on the glove and wiggle your fingers around so your baby can see the animal on top. Make animal noises as you attract his attention. Have the animal "scamper" up your baby's leg, saying "Gotcha!" and tickle his tummy. He will LOVE this game!

This activity encourages him to anticipate the tickle, shows emotional expressions, provides social interaction and builds trust.

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3-6 Months: Baby on the Bus

laughing baby
{Photo by Ben McLeod}
Lay your baby on a soft blanket or towel. Sing the "Wheels on the Bus" song adding the following movements.

(Begin by bicycling your baby's legs as you sing the first four lines.)
The wheels on the bus go round and round,
Round and round, round and round,
The wheels on the bus go round and round,
All through the town...

The people on the bus go up and down...
(lift your baby's arms up and down)

The wipers on the bus go back and forth...
(roll baby from side to side)

The horn on the bus goes beep, beep, beep...
(touch your baby's nose)

This activity provides good physical exercise and encourages motor movement and body control. It also encourages good language development.

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6-9 Months: The Music Man

Pick a favorite children's CD from the library, or sing your own music as you shake rattles, beat on tupperware, or blow in dollar-store flutes to introduce him to the concept of rhythm. He will love making all the noise, and seeing your face as you react to his movements. ("Surprising" Mommy in our house is always a hilarious hit in our home.)

This activity works on fine and gross motor skill development, as well as enhancing listening and rhythmic skills.

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9-12 Months: How Puzzling

A great brain-builder for babies of this age are large wooden puzzles. She will probably need your help to guide her to the right slots, but the satisfying "fit" will be especially gratifying. Choose puzzles with large knobs for easy grabbing, and matching pictures underneath to help your infant learn to match picture-to-picture.

Side Note: If you don't have good baby puzzles like this, Baby Earth carries a large selection of Jumbo Knob Puzzles, like this House Pet Puzzle.

This activity teaches problem solving, size and shape discrimination skills, and develops fine motor skills.

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12-18 Months: Upstairs, Downstairs

If you have stairs in your home, this is an important skill you can develop by "playing" together. Going up the stairs is an exciting adventure he may have already tried. It's going down that gives you heart palpatations. Show him how to safely descend by teaching him to turn around on his belly, and find the stairs with his feet. Use consistent cue words like "turn around" and "feet first" each time your baby approaches the stairs.

This activity teaches him a lot about spatial relations and balance. It builds up his lower-body strength and encourages gross motor skill development.


Eventually, he may begin to lose interest in playing these games. Don't force anything. If that seems to be the case, simply try out some of the infant activities in previous newsletters.

These activities were adapted from Baby Play And Learn and Baby Play (by Gymboree).


heather's hints

Butternut Squash with Alphabet Pasta

soup
{Photo by dumbeast}
Just when you think it can't get any colder, here comes February. Warm up your baby's tummy with this delicious, creamy, and healthy soup.

Ingredients and Directions

  • 3 cups butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 2-3 Tbs alphabet pasta
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1/2 Tbs fresh sage, chopped (or 1/2 tsp dried)
  • 1 Tbs Parmesan cheese

Put the squash in a steamer and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Blend to a puree with 4-5 Tbs water from the bottom of the steamer. (Use a Ziploc microwave steamer bag if you're in a rush.) Bring a pan of water to a boil and add the pasta, cooking until tender (about 5 minutes). Drain the pasta. Melt the butter in a pan, add the sage, and cook gently for 1 minute. Mix the sage, butter and Parmesan cheese together with the squash and pasta.

Freezer Notes

Follow the recipe as directed, omitting the pasta. Freeze in ice-cube tray portions. When ready to use, thaw in the fridge and add cooked pasta. You may need to thin it with a little water or chicken broth. If you warm it up in the microwave, make sure you stir it well before serving and test with your finger to eliminate any hot spots.

Age Notes

  • If your baby is older than 6 months, you can make this recipe omitting the pasta and Parmesan.
  • If your baby is older than 8 months, you can make this recipe omitting the pasta.
  • If your baby is older than 10 months, you can make the recipe completely.

Nutrition Notes

Butternut Squash is an excellent source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Potassium, and fiber. It also is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids - an essential ingredient for brain development that we cannot produce on our own. Omega-3 must be ingested, it cannot be created.

Vitamin A helps promote good eyesight and fight of viral infections (like the common cold). Vitamin C is useful in lowering your cancer risk, and helps in iron absorption (iron helps your immune system). Potassium helps muscles and nerves to function properly. Fiber is essential to keep your baby's bowels functioning healthy and preventing constipation.


This recipe was taken from one of my infant book staples: First Meals. Click here to see this great baby food resource. The Age Notes come from another baby food book favorite: Super Baby Food

heather's hints

Remember Your Other Man this Valentine's Day

advice for new parents 3
As much as you love your son, there actually is a more important male in your house! Make him the center of your Valentine's Day, rather than waiting for him to come to you.

And then use these tips to make every day, Valentine's Day.

Daily Do's for a Strong Marriage

  • Give 5-minute kisses.
      Do you know how long a five-minute kiss is? Long enough to forget how stressed you are and to remember how thankful you are to be in this together. Kids around? Skip the passion, go for sweetness. Your children will be dizzy with happiness to see their parents so happy to be together. (If they're anything like my Lauren, they'll want to squeeze in-between you to be a "Lauren Sandwich".)
  • Communicate with tenderness.
      Forgive the little things, calming discuss the big things, and be prepared to eat the same humble pie you dish out.
  • Hit the "Snooze" and cuddle.
      Set your alarm clock ahead a few minutes to give you some time to cuddle in the warm bed before getting up. Those little unconscious touches will carry a sense of tenderness with it the rest of the day.
  • Pray together.
      It's amazing how much insight I get into my husband's thoughts when I hear him pray (and vice versa). Your spirits joined together to worship and beseech God's grace is a powerfully uniting thing.
  • Listen first, speak later.
      Practice the discipline of listening. Decide to memorize the names of co-workers and actually take the time to enter-into each other's worlds. Sharing upcoming meetings, stressful days, exciting opportunities and then follow up about them later. Develop your friendship, by listening and engaging in those parts of your life where you are separated. If you want him to be involved in your life, and your kid's lives, make an effort to get into his life. By listening, and only occasionally offering comments. (If he feels like he's sharing his day with his mother, he won't want to share!)
Get other great tips on how to "spark-up" your marriage after kids by reading the article Practical Advice for New Parents on Marriage and Romance

The Perfect Gift for the Perfect Man

If you haven't discovered Buy.com, now is a great time to do so. They are running several Valentine specials worth considering (they expire 2/14/09). As an extra bonus, all these watches have free shipping.
recalls

There have been 17 recalls since the last Merry Mother was published in December. (Due to the holidays, there is no January issue.) Just as a reminder, these are all pdf documents. You will need a PDF Reader installed on your computer to read them. If you don't have one, you can download Adobe Acrobat Reader for free at this site.

Although these reports are always free, they take a lot of work to update every month. Please consider giving a small donation in return for the reports. $1, $2, $5...the amount is really irrelevant. I just appreciate the gesture! After all, I've a family to feed too!


SAMPLE NEWSLETTER NOTE:
Recall Reports are available by request, or to subscribers only.

Clothes Recalled

  • Taggies Sleep 'n Play Garments (expansion of earlier recall)
  • See the details on the Taggies recall.

Stroller Recalled

  • Phil and Teds Dash Buggy Strollers
  • See the details on this stroller recall.

High Chair Recalled

  • Evenflo "Majestic" High Chairs
  • See the details on the "Majestic" recall.

Pacifier and Rattle Recalled

  • Infantino Lion and Lamb Grabby Rattles
  • Flashing Pacifiers
  • See the details on the "Majestic" recall.

Nursery Blinds Recalled

  • Roman Shades and Roll-Up Blinds from Cost Plus and World Market
  • See the details on the "Majestic" recall.

Playpen Recalled

  • Fisher-Price Rainforest Portable Play Yard
  • See the details on the "Majestic" recall.

Cribs Recalled

  • Stork Craft Baby Cribs
  • Expansion of Jardine Cribs sold at Babies "R" Us
  • Munrie "Newport Rubbed Black" 4-in-1 Crib and Furniture
  • See the details on these recalled cribs.

Toys Recalled in December, 2008

  • Groovy Fashions Sassy Jammies Doll Clothing Set
  • Army Figurines
  • "Dinosaur Epoch" Toy Dinosaurs
  • Hawaiian Jewelry from Aloha 808 Trading
  • Calypso Steel Drum
  • See the details on these recalled toys.

Toys Recalled in January, 2009

  • "High Speed" Pull-Back Toy Cars
  • Toy Xylophones from The Land of Nod
  • Construction Play Sets
  • Spa Factory Aromatherapy Fountain and Bath Benefits Kits
  • See the details on these recalled toys.
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I hope you've enjoyed reading the February issue of The Merry Mother.

The next issue will be published on March 3rd. So watch your Inbox! smiley


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Thank You Readers!

Thank you so much for reading and subscribing to this newsletter. It is a labor of love. I'm happy to know others enjoy reading it as much as I do writing it.

My growing subscriber list shows that you have been sharing it with your friends, and for that, I am deeply grateful. After all, this is newsletter is focused on one thing: helping us all become merrier mothers - because merry mothers = merry babies!

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P.S. Be sure to check back at The Essential Infant Resource for Moms, your friend-next-door for questions-answered, stories-told, and laughs-had.
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